Tuesday, July 22, 2008

’m sitting down with reporter Adam Nagourney. (Disclosure: my communication with Mr. Nagourney consists of comments I’ve posted to his blog.) Mr. Nagourney of course works for The New York Times as a political correspondent. Mr. Nagourney and I will discuss the waning influence of print media in national elections. (Disclosure: I have a very close friend named Wayne. If he had spelled it WANE I probably would have never become his friend. Maybe his Facebook friend.)

At the start of our chat Mr. Nagourney traces his evolving history writing political coverage for The New York Times (Full disclosure: I have never worked for The Times. One of my friends in high school claimed it was her dream to be an editor for The Times. Whatever happened to her?

I should also mention that I read The Times at least once a week. It all began when I was in eighth grade, and my social studies teacher (whose name I sort of remember but wouldn’t attempt to spell) would give us a quiz based on the articles of the front page. It was an unfair exam format, because he would assume that we’d read the entire article, and he’d usually test us on the part of the article after the jump, which is absurd, since it focused on the trivia and completely disregarded the concept of the inverted pyramid.

The Times comes to our house early Sunday morning, and I get it before the kids wake up. If it isn’t too cold out, sometimes I’ll go out in my bathrobe and socks, pretending I’m Tony Soprano, although I’m not so sure he was a Times reader. I should clarify that I look a little better in a bathrobe and black tube socks. My dog has no idea how to retrieve the paper. This should be considered a very difficult trick for most dogs, since their mouths are not quite a big as the full Sunday Times, rather than a failure of character or intellect.

I tell everybody that I read the Week In Review first, but really, I read the Sunday Sports and the Sunday Styles. Although I’ve never admitted this to anyone, I enjoy browsing the wedding announcements to see if there’s anyone I know from high school or college. There never is.

The paper generally sits around all week, and we try to get to all of it by Friday, which is when recycling goes out. Correction: we have to put recycling out Thursday night, because they pick up really early Friday mornings, which means I only get five days to read the Sunday Times. In all fairness I never read the whole thing, and as hard as I try, I can’t really get past the first page of the Business section. In the spirit of fairness I will admit to a crush on Gretchen Morgenson. My wife does not know this.

I thumb through the Book Review, because I feel like I have to, even though it’s ridiculous that all of those soi-disant writers have book deals and I don’t. (Although I have a French last name and I like to pepper my writing with the occasional French bon mots, I don’t understand the language at all). (And I should also mention that that I recognize by name most of the writers and reviewers, whether or not I’ve met them. I’d like to think it’s cool that I know these people, but if all they’re doing right now, isn’t that kind of pathetic?). Maybe if my agent weren’t having drinks with Adam Nagourney’s agent I too would be writing for the Book Review, especially that cute little essay on the back page, which is the first thing I read (Disclaimer: I read it on Saturday, online, as a pre-game for Sunday).

Mostly I read The Times online, because my children use it for art projects before I get a chance to read the paper version (disclosure: when they steal my paper for art projects I roll up the paper and hit their bottoms. Very lightly. Not the whole paper; just the Travel section, which none of us reads, because it reminds us that we’re stuck at home with small children).

Also, both my Web site and NYTimes.com use the same resources to access the Internet. Although we don’t share the same Web host (unless they’re paying $9.95/month, which I doubt) they use the same protocols, similar hardware, and the same infrastructure, which is routed through the networks at Reston, Virginia, for our data to be requested, retrieved and read by our subscribers. Also, I’m in my basement writing this, in between checking various e-mail accounts. I should also state that I’m in my underwear, and the curtains are not drawn. And my neighbors just saw me. ).

G Xavier Robillard writes fiction and assembles man-eating robots in Boston. His first novel, Captain Freedom: A Superhero’s Quest for Truth, Justice and the Celebrity He Most Richly Deserves arrives in stores February 2009. You can read the rest of his work at All Day Coffee.

So, What Is Not an International Zionist Plot? By President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran

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